Published by William Morrow Paperbacks on April 2nd 2013
Genre: Historical Fiction
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A captivating story of two very different women who build an unexpected friendship: a 91-year-old woman with a hidden past as an orphan-train rider and the teenage girl whose own troubled adolescence leads her to seek answers to questions no one has ever thought to ask.
Nearly eighteen, Molly Ayer knows she has one last chance. Just months from “aging out” of the child welfare system, and close to being kicked out of her foster home, a community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping her out of juvie and worse.
Vivian Daly has lived a quiet life on the coast of Maine. But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are vestiges of a turbulent past. As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly discovers that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.
The closer Molly grows to Vivian, the more she discovers parallels to her own life. A Penobscot Indian, she, too, is an outsider being raised by strangers, and she, too, has unanswered questions about the past. As her emotional barriers begin to crumble, Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life – answers that will ultimately free them both.
Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of second chances, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.
This was the third book I randomly picked up from the “express shelf” at my local library and I have to say I am having great luck doing that. I LOVED this book. I also realized that historical fiction is my second favorite genre of books, behind thrillers. I love learning about history through fiction, it makes the history lesson interesting. I had no idea about the orphan trains during that time and it was fascinating to learn about. While the book goes back and forth between the present with Molly’s story and the past with Vivian’s story I was much more invested in Vivian’s story. I also enjoyed watching the relationship between Molly & Vivian grow. Throughout reading it I cried and I smiled. It really touched me. Definitely recommend!!!
“I like the assumption that everyone is trying his best, and we should all just be kind to each other.”
“You got to learn to take what people are willing to give.”
“I’ve come to think that’s what heaven is- a place in the memory of others where our best selves live on.”
“Time constricts and flattens, you know. It’s not evenly weighted. Certain moments linger in the mind and others disappear.”
“So is it just human nature to believe that things happen for a reason – to find some shred of meaning even in the worst experiences?”